In his state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly today, Vladimir Putin set out the major goals of the country's development, established the nation's main task and promised no revision of basic principles of policy.
According to the president, these goals should be attained through cooperation between all branches of power and support from all citizens of the country.
"Our goals are absolutely clear: high living standards in the country, secure, free and comfortable; mature democracy and a developed civil society; consolidation of Russia's positions in the world and the main thing - a considerable growth in citizens' welfare," said the president.
"The continuity of the strategic course, further reforms - already tested in the past four years - are at the basis of our continued stable development," he stated.
According to the president, far from everybody in the world wants to deal with an independent, strong, and confident Russia.
"Now the global competitive struggle actively employs political, economic and information pressure. Sometimes, the consolidation of our statehood is deliberately interpreted as authoritarianism," noted Putin.
However, the head of state emphasized, "there will be no revision of the fundamentals of our policy." "Commitment to democratic values is dictated by our people's will and the strategic interests of the Russian Federation," he said.
"Radical revision of the economic policy, no matter how restricted citizens' rights and freedoms are, fundamental changes in foreign policy dimensions - any deviations from the chosen, and I'd say, long-endured historical path of Russia - can have irreversible consequences. And they should be completely ruled out," said Putin.
Vladimir Putin thinks that those who "stubbornly do not notice" major achievements in the development of Russia's young democracy are insincere.
On the other hand, the head of state called for providing a critical assessment of our democracy. "Our social system is far from ideal. Admittedly, we are only at the beginning of the road," he said.
According to him, "the effective solution of the people's outstanding problems is impossible without a mature civil society. The quality of people's life directly depends on the quality of the socio-political system." He believes it the situation to be unacceptable when civilized political competition is replaced with a mercenary struggle for status rent, when the financial aspects of the operation of political associations remain hidden from the public, and when the market of election technologies and lobbying services is oriented above all at the shadow sector. "And all of this takes place against the background of boring uniformity of programs of most parties," said Vladimir Putin.
Putin also criticized some non-political public organizations.
In his opinion, far from all of them are committed to defending the real interests of people. "When violations of fundamental human rights and infringement on people's real interests are at issue, such organizations are often silent. And this is not surprising: they simply cannot bite the hand that feeds them," said the president.
In this context, he deems it important "gradually to pass the functions that the state should not and cannot fulfill efficiently over to the non-state sector." In his opinion, "political parties should engage in closer cooperation with civil structures too." "Parties should raise the level of political culture, develop skills of maintaining inter-party dialog and coalition efforts. They should learn how to come to power and leave according to the people's will," said the president.
Mr. Putin believes that in the past four years Russia has crossed a difficult but very important line. "For the first time in many years, Russia has become a politically and economically stable country, an independent country - both financially and in international affairs," he said.
"In reality, we have just recently approached the third stage in the development of the modern Russian state, allowing the rapid development and solution of large-scale national tasks," added the president.
"And now we have sufficient experience and the necessary instruments to set long-term goals," believes the Russian leader.
He pointed out, "for the first time in years, we can forecast our life not only several months or even years ahead, but also for decades to come." The most important national task, according to Mr. Putin, is to create a free society of free people in Russia." "This is the most important but also the most complicated goal for us," noted Putin.
"When achieving improved welfare for citizens, we will further preserve and defend the democratic achievements of the Russian people, boost national security and seek a civilized solution to the key issues of the world politics, based on international law," he said.
The president stressed that he was counting on constructive cooperation between all branches and levels of power, on support from and solidarity between all Russia's citizens, their self-confidence, belief in their own abilities and the success of the country.